BLACK SCIENCE is still reeling from Grant's death, and after a spotlight on the most loyal traitor, Kadir, the focus turns to Nate McKay. The kids haven't spent as much time at the center of the narrative -- they're not invisible, but the adults have been pretty busy dealing with various betrayals and life-threatening scenarios -- and it's refreshing to learn about their perspectives. Remender does an incredible job of weaving Nate's story of standing up to a bully with this issue's immediate dangers, and the emotional tone for the entire issue (including the parts that focus on the adults) is set by Nate.
The emotional balance in this issue is excellent; Nate is able to express loss and regret, but never stops moving. He reminisces, but doesn't dwell. Real stuff is happening, after all. It's incredibly mature for a child of his age to recognize the reality of his situation, but the children in this series have never been anything but precocious.
It's also moral lesson time -- we knew that the titular Black Science was risky, but the impact of the Pillar is more wider-reaching than expected. There's a little bit of exposition from the been-there-done-that angle, which starts to prompt us (as readers) with questions about power, humanity, revenge, and sabotage. Is anyone the good guy here?
Since Issue #1, the provocative story has been delivered via lush, exotic illustrations, and this issue is no exception. Scalera and White are firing on all cylinders with wild, imaginative landscapes (and their accompanying fauna) and deeply expressive characters.
One thing I'm having trouble keeping track of is where the Dimensionauts are during any given issue, and which dangers (or allies) are in the vicinity. Did I miss a skip from the dinosaur-like creatures that dominated last issue? Are the children in the same area as the adults?
Remender, Scalera, and team are doing a fantastic job of keeping a dimension-hopping sci-fi story active, interesting, and emotionally grounded beyond the first arc, and BLACK SCIENCE continues to be a must-read. It's occasionally tricky to keep up with current locations and action (it's a wide, wild universe!) but the human core of the story keeps things on a steady course.